US urges China to hold unconditional dialogue on Tibet Issue

DHARAMSHALA: The US today called on China to engage in unconditional dialogue with His Holiness the Dalai Lama or his representatives to resolve the Tibet issue.

“We call on the Chinese Government to engage in substantive dialogue with the Dalai Lama, with his representatives, and without preconditions,” State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell told reporters in Washington. He said this has been the US’s longstanding policy.

Responding to prison sentences meted out to Tibetans for their alleged connection with self-immolation incidents, Mr Ventrell said: “We are very concerned by the self-immolations, detentions, arrests of family members and associates of those who have self-immolated.

He said Secretary John Kerry raised the human rights concerns with the Chinese leadership during his just concluded visit to China.

Since 2009, at least 114 Tibetans have set themselves on fire in Tibet, calling for the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet and freedom for Tibetans.

On Monday, the Associated Press reported that a court in Malho in northeastern Tibet’s Amdo province (Ch: Huangnan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture) has recently sentenced four Tibetans to up to six years’ imprisonment for sending information about self-immolations to the outside world.